Freeze Frame: Q & A with Suzanne Gauch

By: Lightbox Film Center

11/12/2018

Preceding next Friday’s screening of the legendary film Soleil Ô, Temple University professor Suzanne Gauch will be on hand for our second-ever Deep Dive program, a closer look at the newly restored film’s context within postcolonial African cinema. Gauch has published widely on postcolonial and African cinema and she is the author of Maghrebs in Motion, or North African Cinema in Nine Movements (Oxford University Press). Join us on Friday, November 16 for our Deep Dive program at 6pm, followed by the screening of Soleil Ô at 7pm.  

What can attendees expect from your Deep Dive session? 
Attendees can expect an exploration of Med Hondo’s career and influential role in shaping African cinema, and an examination of the notable features of his first film, Soleil Ô within the context of third cinema.

What's important for people to know about postcolonial African cinema? 
This is quite a difficult question. African cinema is complex, and was characterized by multiple themes and styles from the outset. Early filmmakers sought not just to entertain, but to reassess the past and the present and mobilize their audiences to further analysis and action. 

 How does Soleil Ô fit into or stand out from other films made during the same era?
It stands out for its innovative ways of condensing concepts and movements through symbolic imagery, both cinematic and theatrical, and for its use of sound. It’s also part of a broader genre of films that combine documentary, essay, and fiction film conventions to re-examine the form and purpose of film.

 How is this film relevant today? How has it influenced other filmmakers?
As the French saying goes, plus ça change, plus ça revient au même. It’s startling how relevant the film is today. It focuses on racism and European fears of immigration against the backdrop of European profiteering in Africa. As for its influence, it is both a legendary film and one that has rarely been seen. Until now it hasn’t been in distribution, so this beautifully restored print is a fantastic opportunity to a classic of African cinema.

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